Tag Archives: Goodreads

The Australian Women Writers challenge 2013

awwbadge_2013

Today, I’m officially announcing my participation in the Australian Women Writers challenge. The what?, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a reading challenge that was established last year as a way to stop the gender bias that exists in so many book review pages, particularly in the established media. This bias isn’t necessarily deliberate, but it does exist, and so the AWW challenge is a way to help change that. You can read about the background here.

Now, to say that I’m taking part in this doesn’t mean that I’m ONLY reading Australian women writers. Heck, I read over 100 books in a year, and only a small proportion of those are going to fit the criteria. But some are better than none, and a lot are better than some. I’ve already read two books by Australian women this year so I don’t see it as being a particularly onerous idea.

Here are the categories (from the AWW challenge website):

  • Stella – read 4 – review at least 3
  • Miles – read 6 – review at least 4
  • Franklin – read 10 – review at least 6
  • Create your own challenge – do you plan to specialise in a particular genre or interest area, e.g. Science Fiction, self-published or Indigenous literature? Are you aiming for a high number, e.g. all the books you can read?

Last year I signed up for Stella, which was easy enough. This year, to push myself a bit, I’ve decided I’m going to go for the Franklin – read ten books, review at least six. With all the great Australian women writers out there, it should be a piece of cake, right? :)

And now, I am going to ask you to consider signing up to this challenge as well. Below I’ve listed a few common objections to participating, with my solutions.

  • Not female? Well, who says you have to be a woman in order to read a story by a woman? I certainly read a heck of a lot of stories by male authors, Australian or not.
  • Not Australian? Why should that be a problem? Is there a rule that says you can only read books by people you share a country with?
  • No time? Hey, if I can do it, so can you. What’s the big deal in reading four books in a year?
  • Don’t review books on your blog? No problem! If you have a Goodreads account you can just review on that site.
  • Don’t know any Australian women writers? Well, luckily for you the people behind the challenge have set up a bookshelf on Goodreads for you to have a look at, with over 1000 books listed on it. That should be enough for anyone. :)

So, this is both my announcement that I’m participating, and my plea for you to consider it too. Just go to the AWW website and sign up.  It’s free, it’s easy and you might just discover a new favourite author.

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Happy birthday to me!

one hundred

one hundred (Photo credit: Violentz)

Well, it’s not exactly my birthday (which, in case you are interested, is later this month), but this is a momentous day for my blog – my 100th post! *cue balloons and streamers* Yes, yes, I know. It seems like I’ve been doing this forever – or, at least, it does for me, which I’m not sure is a good or a bad thing. Anyway, to mark the occasion I thought I’d talk about social media or, put another way, internet engagement. Appropriate, no? :)

I’m the first to admit that I don’t engage as well as I should. In many ways I’m a parasite on the net: I put stuff out there, but I don’t give back. In other words, I post but I don’t comment. Now, I have been trying to be better at that this year, but like all good intentions it has fallen by the wayside a little. My participation is dropping off.

Of course, as Linda Lee Greene discussed so eloquently on my blog a couple of weeks ago, participation in social media can be a slippery slope. It’s all too easy to get sucked in and burn out, or ignore what you’ve been working on. On the other side of the coin, though, is that if you are engaging with people then they are more likely to have positive feelings about you and are thus more likely to check out your work. Talking with people online, and making them feel important, can have direct – and beneficial – impacts on your profile hits, Facebook likes, blog follows and, most importantly, sales.

It might sound callous to think of it like that – these are, after all, people with whom you are engaging – but we all have to be entrepreneurs these days, don’t we? If this is a professional engagement (that is, if you are using a professional Facebook page, Twitter account or blog, for example) then it all comes down to marketing. That’s why we have these accounts, and why we use them. And maybe that’s why I don’t engage as well as I should, because, at this stage, I don’t have anything to market. I know that the more I get out there, the more my name will be known when novel #1 does come out, but part of me feels that I’m pushing  myself on people too much. Sigh. Like Linda, I’m not cut out to be a marketer.

I will, naturally, attempt to work on this. After all, that’s part of what my new years resolutions this year were all about. But I am also wary of the slippery slope of becoming too engaged in social media. If I spend too much time talking to people I’ve never met, I run the  risk of alienating my real life friends, colleagues and family members. If I spend my computer time posting on Goodreads and Facebook, then I’m not going to be writing my novel. And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

So today I am using my 100th blog post to think about how I’m using social media. I love to interact with everyone here, and I do intend to get better at it (comment, Emilydarn you!!) but I do think that finding that balance is what I should really be focusing on. Because after all, if I burn out like Linda did, then what’s the point of all this anyway?

 

PS I’m including forum participation in things I should be working on. Yes, Peter, you will hopefully be seeing me around again soon! :)

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New year’s resolutions

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy new year! *clicks champagne glasses*

I hope you all had a great holiday season, whatever it meant to you, and that you and your family all made it through to the other side intact and in the same number of pieces in which you started it. :)

In honour of the new year, today I’m going to talk about new year’s resolutions.

You know, I’m not normally a resolution type of girl. I don’t see much point in making decisions to change my life just because the calendar has ticked over to a new day, nor waiting for such a time to implement any changes. If I want to do something, I just do it, rather than waiting till the next January. In addition, the normal kinds of new year’s resolutions – giving up smoking, cutting down on drinking, losing weight – don’t really work for someone who doesn’t smoke, barely drinks and is probably technically underweight as it is.

This year, though, I’m making some, and they’re all writing related. Why? Well, it’s not because it’s suddenly 2013 and my life has started flashing before my eyes, or because I have a sudden recognition of my own mortality. No, it’s more because I’ve been at home these last two weeks and had time to think about where I want to be this time next year. So, without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):

  1. Get novel #1 edited to a point where I’m happy with it, and send it out to my trusty beta readers.
  2. Write the bulk of novel #2. I had the plot bunny for it suddenly attack me late last year, so I’ve written out a bunch of notes that just need to be put in some kind of order and fleshed out. If I can get the first draft done that will be incredible, but I’m not holding my breath.
  3. Get better at answering comments on my blog. If you’re taking the trouble to comment on it, then the least I can do is acknowledge that, right?
  4. In that vein, get better at commenting on other people’s blogs. I read them, but it’s normally on my phone and I have a really bad habit of not getting around to getting on my computer and actually writing out a comment. I’ll try to improve on that this year.
  5. Keep up to date with my reviewing and remember to cross-post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Again, it’s a bad habit I have of forgetting to do it and then I get to the point I’m at now of having about a dozen that need to be done. *adds it to her to-do list*
  6. Try to be more active on social media. It’s my own fault – for example, I have three Twitter accounts, all for different purposes, and in trying to keep up with them all I tend to keep up with none. But if I’m going to be professional about this writing thing then I probably need to have a bit more of a profile and really work on that. I’m not sure how hard I’m going to work at it this year (the full-on thing isn’t going to happen, for instance), but just making a point of paying more attention and posting more often isn’t a bad idea, right?
  7. Do more guest posts for other blogs, and participate in things like the Third Sunday Blog Carnival. I’ve been meaning to do it for months but just never got around to it. Better now than never, I figure. :)

So, those are my resolutions for 2013. The idea is that if I put them out in the open like this, rather than just on a piece of paper stuck to my fridge door, then I’m more likely to keep to them. (Though the fridge door isn’t a bad idea either, in that it will be something I see every day.) And if I look like lagging behind in anything, then feel free to beat me about the head a little bit. I’m not averse to a little encouragement if I’m going astray.

What about you? Are you doing resolutions for the new year, or just plodding on as usual without worrying about it? What works best for you? I’d love to hear about it. :)

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Guess what? I’ve been published!!

In a real book that you can buy and everything!  How exciting is that?

As you can tell, I’m rather stoked by this. It’s all of six months since I decided to really start taking this writing malarkey seriously, and so far I’ve submitted a grand total of one story to be published. This makes my success rate 100%, which is rather unusual in writing circles. Don’t worry, I’m not under any illusions whatsoever about maintaining this rate, but I might as well enjoy it while I can, right?

100 RPM

The book is a collection of flash fiction, all inspired by music, and it’s called 100 RPM. It’s the brainchild of Caroline Smailes, and features one hundred stories (all 100 words long) inspired by music. Intrigued? I was, which was why I submitted a (somewhat gruesome) story. My contribution was inspired by DOA by the Foo Fighters, which was chosen because (a) they’re one of the only bands I listen to who are known worldwide, and (b) it’s one of those songs that just sticks in my mind whether I want it to or not, so it seemed a logical choice.

All proceeds from the book go to the UK charity One in Four, which raises money to help victims of sexual violence. On top of that, the book is CHEAP – but only for the first week of release. It came out on Thursday so you’ve got till this Thursday to get it at the discounted price, which is 99p (UK) or $1.55 (US). After that the price will rise (though not by a huge amount), which means more cash per book to One in Four, but possibly less sales because it’s dearer.

So, please go out and buy the book. This isn’t to line my pockets because I make absolutely nothing from it (I bought the book myself, even though as a contributing author I could have had a free copy), but to help out a very worthy charity – and read some great stories in the meantime! If you could leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both) that would be awesome too, as we’d like as many people to find out about this as possible. Other ways you could help are tweeting using the hashtag #100RPM or liking the Facebook page.

Besides, you’re curious as to whether I can actually write, aren’t you? :)

———-

For more information about 100 RPM, please check out Caroline Smailes’ blog entry from last week.

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Guest post: Why Writers should Blog, by Holly Kench

Why Writers Should Blog

Image of me blogging was created by today’s guest poster, Holly Kench

When I first decided to start writing seriously, I desperately sought advice wherever I could get it. Everyone I spoke to made a lot of good suggestions: write every day, write what you’re passionate about, find your niche, create a writing routine, enjoy your writing, etc. Yet, there was one recommendation that I hadn’t expected and that kept popping up:

Write a blog.

A what? I would ask, scratching my technologically malnourished brain. At the time, the only blog I frequented was that of Ricky Gervais, and I remained unconvinced that ‘blog’ could actually be a real word.

However, it wasn’t long before I was following many MANY blogs and writing my own. I haven’t looked back since.

But just why is blogging such a positive endeavour for writers?

Let’s start with the basic reasons that blogging is beneficial for writers. The most essential of these would have to be in creating a home for yourself on the net. People need to be able to look you up online; just as you need a place to direct readers. In this increasingly virtual world (yes, it’s a cliché because it’s true), home is where the link is. For writers, this is your blog. It’s your online centre, and from your blog you can direct readers to your other social media (ie. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads), to other relevant sites, and, most importantly, to where they can read/purchase your work.

Your blog is so much more than a Yellow Pages entry, though. It’s also a place where you can advertise your writing skills and generate an audience. You can promote yourself as an author, as well as specifically promoting your available work. Even more exciting, you can write to an interactive audience. This is a luxury that the traditional world of books doesn’t have. By writing a blog you become part of a developing community in which readers can respond and contribute to texts directly. On a blog, writers and readers communicate, discuss and consider writing as part of an ongoing conversation. I find the possibilities of this terribly exciting.

In terms of your writing itself, blogging is also a wonderful exercise. Blogging gives you the opportunity to write without restraint. You can write for the joy of it, at those times when you know your brain will burst if you don’t get those words down, or when you really need to write out problems and explore questions about your primary writing. And you have a waiting audience ready to read and contribute to your thoughts. Of course, the topic of your blog affects this to a certain extent – though I don’t really let that bother me too much. While my blog mostly consists of humorous short stories, I’ve discovered that my readers are more than willing to read and comment on my concerns about fiction and pop culture, and, for that matter, anything else I feel like blogging about at the time.

There’s a freedom in blogging that you don’t always experience from other types of writing. You don’t have to prove anything to a publisher or agent when you’re blogging. All you have to do is write for you and your wonderful followers, who are just waiting to give you their two cents worth (and that’s worth so much more).

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Thanks Holly! If you’d like to know more about this week’s guest blogger, she identifies herself as a Tasmanian (Australian) writer and feminist, with a classics degree and a fear of spiders.  She enjoys writing fantasy and humour for adults, as well as young adult and children’s fiction, and is currently writing her first novel, a young adult paranormal fantasy. Oh yeah, and she also likes writing stories about herself and drawing pictures of herself as a stuffed olive. To see more of her work, you can check out her website.

Holly as a stuffed olive :)

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